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Advisers need clarity on government’s reopening roadmaps to service clients

An Australian accounting body has called on the federal government to provide clarity for businesses looking to reopen and continue trading under its state and territory roadmaps.

On Monday, CPA Australia said that without clear direction, businesses — including those in the advice industry — will be left in the dark and uncertain about what they can and can’t do post-lockdown.

“Many financial advisers are small business owners themselves,” CPA Australia chief executive Andrew Hunter told ifa.

“They don’t necessarily have the time or money to spend on ferreting out answers to these questions.”

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CPA Australia has issued the government with 10 questions it must answer for businesses to begin planning for post-lockdown trading:

  1. Once lockdown restrictions ease, what businesses and venues will be required to deny entry or in-person services to unvaccinated people? 
  2. Other than businesses required to serve vaccinated people only, can any other businesses deny entry or in-person services to unvaccinated people?
  3. Can businesses request information on the vaccination status of a customer before allowing them entry or providing services?
  4. If a person has a medical exemption from being vaccinated, can the business ask for proof, and is the person required to provide it to gain entry or services?
  5. Can businesses require employees and contractors to undertake a rapid antigen test immediately before starting a shift or providing in-person services?
  6. If vaccination is mandated for an industry, can the business terminate or stand down employees who refuse to be vaccinated, and does this change if vaccination is not mandated for an industry?
  7. Can businesses request evidence of an employee’s or contractor’s vaccination status before allowing them into the workplace?
  8. Once the 80 per cent fully vaccinated level is reached, if individual employees are required to quarantine, can the business stand them down and, if so, will government financial support be available to these employees?
  9. Once the 80 per cent fully vaccinated level is reached, if an employee, contractor or customer of a business is a confirmed COVID case, will all close contacts of the infected person need to quarantine for 14 days?
  10. If a business is required by government to close due to a targeted lockdown, or quarantining of employees or contractors who are close contacts, and this significantly disrupts turnover, what financial support will be available to that business?

“In ordinary times, financial advisers have frequent in-person contact with clients. Many Australians have had diminished access to financial advice since the pandemic began,” Mr Hunter continued.

“Financial advisers are keen to provide in-person services to their clients but need to know how to do this in a COVID-safe manner.”

CPA will raise the 10 questions in upcoming meetings with state and territory governments, saying that the more time businesses have to work through the COVID-safe and vaccination requirements, the better they will be set up for successful reopenings.

Advisers need clarity on government’s reopening roadmaps to service clients
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